RealNews

Iraq Oil Infrastructure Losing Billions

When Saddam Hussein’s lieutenant heard that an oil pipeline had been sabotaged in Qushqia, his order was swift: blow up the village. Under Saddam, nobody messed with oil. Saddam and his notorious lieutenant Ali Hassan al-Majid, or “Chemical Ali,” are gone — both in U.S. custody facing trial for crimes allegedly committed during the former regime. But security around Iraq’s vital petroleum industry is in crisis.Between August and October, Iraq lost $7 billion dollars in potential revenues due to sabotage against the country’s oil infrastructure, according to Assem Jihad, spokesman of the Oil Ministry. An estimated 20 oil wells and pipelines were bombed or set abalze this month in northern Iraq alone, according to an official of the Northern Company. Iraq has oilfields in the north around Kirkuk and in the south near Basra. Iraq’s security crisis and its long, porous land borders left the country’s petroleum industry with no effective protection against saboteurs — either Saddam loyalists or tribesmen competing for jobs with the British security firm Erinys International, which has a contract to secure oil wells and pipelines. Full Story

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